Hello, My name is Jacqueline but my family and close friends call me Jackie. My intent in writing this blog is to share recipes, tips and stories that might be helpful to others who want to eat food that supports their health, reduces inflammation and tastes great. I am an integrative medicine health coach. My specialty is addressing food sensitivities for those who suffer with chronic inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disease. I am married, have an adult son and two dogs. I love to eat and cook, travel and hike with my husband Brian.
My Journey to learning and teaching about non-inflammatory food started when I was a teenager. I began having inflammatory pain all over my body. When I was 16, I ended up in acute heart distress and was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. I have lived with Lupus for 40 years and in that time, I have ignored the disease, tried everything that western medicine had to offer me, tried too many supplements and diets to count and finally I dove into studying integrative medicine.
Integrative medicine literally “Integrates” eastern and western medicine philosophies. It is a whole-body approach to achieving wellness. Each system in the body affects one another: Hormones, organs, blood, tissues and the central nervous system. Integrative medicine uses whole-food and herbs alongside western medicine to treat disease and promote optimum health. Also important is the use of diagnostic tests to identify substances that the body is sensitive to. It wasn’t until I identified the foods that cause me inflammation and pain that I was able to get relief and eventually go into remission from Systemic Lupus.
In this blog I focus on eliminating the following foods because they are top culprits for causing systemic inflammation.
GLUTEN: When someone with gluten sensitivity eats gluten (gliadin and glutenin proteins) the immune system jumps into action, causing inflammation. This inflammation can affect the body’s organs and soft tissue. A person may not notice external signs of inflammation, such as redness and swelling, but may notice other symptoms, such as joint and tissue pain. The good news is that there are a lot of gluten-free breads and flours on the market to cook and bake with. When I first started cooking with gluten-free alternatives I made my share of flops… literally! The recipes in this blog are tried and re-tried, so you can trust them.
DAIRY: Dairy contains saturated fats and for many it is an inflammatory food. I recommend initially eliminating dairy completely. You may be able to add back in yogurt (sugar-free) and aged cheeses occasionally. There are plenty of dairy free cheeses, yogurts and milks now readily available on the market that taste great and work well in cooking.
REFINED SUGAR: Sugar stimulates the production of free fatty acids in the liver. When the body digests these free fatty acids, the resulting compounds can trigger inflammatory processes. The more refined the sugar the more likely it is to cause inflammation. Sugar also triggers Leaky Gut which is also associated with chronic inflammation. In my recipes I recommend honey, stevia, dates and occasionally monk fruit and maple syrups.
I have quite a love affair with carbohydrates and sweets and so I have included a page on this site that includes “transitional” or “cheat” foods that have helped me to transition to foods that are non-inflammatory while not having to completely give up on some of my favorite “junk foods”, pasta, bread and the like.
By altering diet alone, you can see huge differences in your overall health and wellbeing. Here are some more tips:
- Choose sprouted flours and nuts
- Cook with olive oil, ghee and unrefined coconut oil.
- Eat fruits and vegetables from all parts of the color spectrum and loads of cruciferous vegetables. Eat dark, leafy greens, berries and orange and yellow fruits often.
- Decrease your amount of animal protein you consume. It is OK to include fish (if you aren’t vegan).
- Increase foods in your diet that are high in omega-3s like wild salmon and herring. You can also include chia seeds and flax seeds in your diet to boost your Omega 3s.
- Frequently cook with anti-inflammatory foods and spices like garlic, turmeric and ginger.
Food Sensitivity Testing
For those with autoimmune issues and chronic pain I usually start by recommending eliminating the top 3 inflammatory foods: Processed sugar, gluten and dairy. If inflammatory symptoms are not dramatically reduced then I recommend getting food sensitivity testing, to define the exact foods that are causing the inflammation.
And then I should mention why I don’t eat meat…
As a child I had to eat what was put in front of me, whether I liked it or not. I have the choice now to think about what I am eating and where it came from. I grew up on a small farm in western Sonoma County in Northern California. We had goats, rabbits, chickens, pigs, an occasional lamb or steer and a huge vegetable garden. I have mixed emotions about raising animals and growing food to eat. While I have fond memories of milking the goats, taking warm eggs from beneath the chickens and harvesting vegetables from the garden I also have sad memories of the slaughtering of the animals that we named and later decided not to name. Our animals all had decent lives, in fact so much better than factory farmed animals, but still it made me cry when I heard the shot gun go off and it made me sick when I saw the remains of the slaughter. There were times when we had to take an animal to the slaughter house. I remember those trips with great sadness. I felt so sorry for them as we rode to their final destination and even worse as we drove away. I could get way more graphic here but won’t. Instead I just make the conscious choice to not eat farm animals. I do not judge others for their food choices. They do not share my history and I believe in the right to choose what’s right for you.
I hope you enjoy the recipes, stories and resources in this blog. I’d love your feedback! Please write comments and share the posts you love. Also be sure to subscribe so that you get notified when there is a new recipe (spam free).